Josh Thompson has embarked on a punishing summer fitness programme in a bid to earn a new contract at Colchester United.

The U’s defender is on the comeback trail after injury forced him to spend almost the entire 2013-14 campaign on the sidelines.

Thompson, 23, managed just 25 minutes of competitive football last season, having undergone an ankle operation last October.

The former Celtic centre-back’s current U’s deal runs out this summer.

And he has been told he needs to prove his fitness if he wants to secure himself a fresh deal at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

U’s boss Joe Dunne said: “Josh is only a young lad and I want to give him the best opportunity.

“He’s working on a very tough off-season programme and we want him to come back fit."

For more on this story and all of the latest Colchester United, including Joe Dunne's plans for pre-season, see Friday's Daily Gazette.